Relating Contact to Multiple Accounts - Zoho Desk Knowledgebase

Setting up Contacts to Multiple Accounts

The contacts who submit tickets might work with more than one company. A consultant might work on behalf of multiple businesses, or a business owner might operate more than one company. In all these situations, you might be needing to relate a single contact record to multiple accounts. This allows you to easily track the relationships between the customers and businesses they work with.

Enabling Contacts to Multiple Accounts
Contact to multiple Accounts feature is disabled by default, but you can enable it if you'd like to relate a single contact to multiple accounts.

To enable this option:
  1. Click the Setup icon (  ) in the top bar.
  2. Click General Settings under Customization.
  3. Click Contacts under the General Settings sub-menu.

  4. On the General Settings for Contacts page, turn on Associate Contact with Multiple Accounts.
    You're now ready to relate a contact with more than one account in your help desk.

Things you should know
Here are a couple of key points to remember after flipping the switch on this feature:
  1. The account in the Account Name field on a contact record is the contact's primary account. This will be a direct relationship. All other accounts that are associated with the contact are secondary and have indirect relationships.
  2. The direct relationship between a contact and an account can be removed by changing the contact's primary account, in which case you must mark another account as primary. An indirect relationship between a contact and an account can be removed by simply dissociating the contact.
  3. The account you added or associated while creating a contact will be its primary. Please note that an account can act as primary for more than one contact.
  4. All primary and secondary accounts are listed under the contact record’s related Accounts tab. It’s possible to associate, dissociate, or mark primary accounts only under here.
  5. When you change a contact’s primary account, Zoho Desk marks it as a secondary account.
  6. When adding secondary accounts (indirect relationships) to a contact, the contact must have a primary account—it can’t be an orphan contact.
  7. When submitting a ticket, the contact's primary account will be auto-populated in the Account Name field. You can choose to create the ticket with the primary account or select from other secondary accounts using the drop-down menu. Please note that the Account Name field cannot be left empty when accounts are associated with the chosen contact.
  8. When editing a contact, the Account Name field will display only the primary account associated with it.
    1. This primary account cannot be removed when it has secondary accounts associated with it. However, you can enter a new account or select from your existing, in which case it becomes the primary from thereon.
    2. This primary account can be removed only when there are no secondary accounts, in which case the contact will become an orphan.
  9. You can't directly dissociate the primary account from the contact record’s related Accounts tab. Instead, you must make it secondary (i.e., mark another account as primary) and dissociate it.
  10. The contact lists display only the direct account (i.e., primary) in the Account Name field. Secondary accounts where existing are indicated only by their number. For example, if the primary account name is Falcon Inc, and there are 5 more accounts associated with the contact, the Account Name field indicates "Zylker +4 more".

  11. When you attempt to delete an account that is in a secondary relationship with contacts, the tickets submitted for those accounts are moved to the recycle bin, and their account-contact relationships are removed.

Managing Relationships Between Contacts and Accounts
Now that you have enabled contacts to multiple accounts feature, you’re ready to start establishing relationships.

I. To associate secondary accounts to a contact:
  1. From a contact record, click the Accounts subtab to associate accounts.
  2. Assuming that the contact is already associated with a primary account, click Associate Accounts at the top of the page. 
  3. From the list of accounts, select all the accounts you want to associate with the contact. 
  4. Click Associate.
    The selected accounts are added as secondary to the contact.

II. To associate a primary account to an orphan contact:
Orphan contacts are those contacts that are not connected to an account. You can associate a primary account to such contacts when needed.
  1. From an orphan contact record, click the Accounts subtab to associate a primary account.
  2. Click Associate Primary Account located at the center of the page.
    You will be taken to the edit page for that contact.
  3. On the contact's edit form and in the Account Name field, enter a new account name or select one from the list of existing accounts.
  4. Click Save.
The entered account is added as primary to the contact. You can click on the account to access its related Contacts tab to view the association the other way around. You can also view the other contacts for which the account acts as primary.

III. To mark an account as primary for a contact:
You can remove a direct relationship between a contact and an account by changing the contact's primary account.
  1. From a contact record, click the Accounts subtab to mark a primary account.
  2. Hover your mouse pointer over the list of accounts that are associated with the contact.
  3. Click Mark as Primary Account corresponding to the account you want to mark as primary.
The change will reflect instantaneously. Also, the previous primary account will be marked as secondary.

IV. To dissociate an account from a contact:
You can remove all relationships between a contact and an account by dissociating the account from a contact.
  1. From a contact record, click the Accounts subtab to mark a primary account.
  2. Hover your mouse pointer over the list of accounts that are associated with the contact.
  3. Click Dissociate corresponding to the account you want to remove from the contact.
    This opens a confirmation window.
  4. Select what has to be done with the tickets created for the contact-secondary account relationship on the window.
    You can choose to either delete them or move them to another contact under the account.
    Note: You can move tickets only to a contact that is related to the dissociated account.
  5. Click Dissociate.

Updating Account Name
When you edit a contact or a ticket to add, edit, or remove its account name, the existing accounts of the contact will be dissociated from it. Additionally, you are prompted whether you want the updated account name to reflect in existing and new tickets or only the new tickets created for the contact. For example, when you update the account name of a contact from Zylker to Zylker Inc, you can choose to reflect the same in existing tickets or only those created from thereon.

Importing Contacts
You can import your existing contacts into Zoho Desk from a CSV file. When you import contacts, you can choose to update the imported account name (contained in the file) in existing tickets. For example, if a contact already has an account in Zoho Desk and the imported file has an account for the same contact, you can choose to update the imported account name in the contact's existing tickets. Note that this option will be available only when you select Overwrite for duplicate records.

Importing Tickets
You can import your existing tickets into Zoho Desk from a CSV file. When you import tickets, you can choose to update the tickets' account with that of its corresponding contact's primary account. Additionally, you can choose to update the account name corresponding to the contacts of your existing tickets.

  1. Only non-archived tickets will be updated.
  2. Only tickets that have their contact mapped with an account will be updated.
  3. When the contact to multiple accounts feature is enabled, the account on the imported file will overwrite the existing account.

Viewing tickets belonging to an account
When there are multiple accounts for a contact, you can let the contact view all the tickets belonging to a particular account on the help center. 
Let's assume the distributor John belongs to 3 accounts - Unilever, Cargill, and Pillsbury. You will be able to specify if John can view all the tickets of just one or all of these accounts. So when John logs in to the help center, he will be able to view the tickets (for accounts made visible to him) and leave replies to them.

  1. By default, the primary account of contact will have this option enabled.
  2. While you can show or hide tickets using this option, contacts can view all tickets of an account only when the "Customers can view tickets of other users in their account" feature is enabled under Setup.

To show or hide tickets:
  1. From a contact record, click the Accounts subtab.
  2. Under the Accounts subtab, click the More icon (  ) corresponding to an account.
  3. Turn on the toggle for Show Ticket from other Contacts.
    The setting will be saved instantaneously.
You can also access this setting on the Associate Account window and the Contacts subtab of an account.

Disabling Contacts to Multiple Accounts
If you decide not to relate a contact to multiple accounts anymore, all you need to do is toggle the Associate Contact with Multiple Accounts feature to Off. Although it sounds plain and simple, here are some basics to keep in mind when turning it off:
  1. You cannot associate more than one account to contact. Also, the contact record's related Accounts tab will not be available.
  2. All contact-account relationships will be maintained in the back-end. 
  3. The Account Name field will be removed from the ticket submission forms, detail views, and list views.
  4. Your end-users cannot submit tickets for multiple accounts from the help center.
  5. The option to filter tickets by their accounts will not be available.

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